Of redingotes, Costume College, and buttons.

After a long hiatus due to the demands of graduate school, I am thankfully back to sewing again (hurrah)!
I’ve also been accepted into the Early Modern Studies program at my University, where I will be honing my focus on representations of 17th century costume (double hurrah)!

And now to get back to our regularly scheduled programming:
This summer, I had planned to make a Redingote based on LACMA’s exemplary piece from their department of costume & textiles.


LACMA’s Redingote. Ahh, 1790’s deliciousness! Squee!

For the past year, I have had the privilege of interning in their department, and working directly with the collections– of which, I must say, has been an amazing experience. Having a costuming itch for some time now to make some late 18th century attire, I was super excited after finding out that they had created a pattern for it for the Fashioning Fashion exhibition, which can be found here.

While I am only 2 or so weeks away from Costume College, i’d love to have it completed in some manner. While I am not looking to make an exact replica of the dress, the palette will be similar. Having already ordered fabric,  I settled with a golden-olive-cream striped silk taffeta for the main body of the dress, and “fretwork” muslin for the petticoat. Both were ordered from Burnley & Trowbridge, and I cannot sing enough praise for how excellent their quality and selection of fabric is.


Figured muslin and the main silk fabric

Though this brings me to my next problem: the fabric is a mere 6.5 yards long (at 60″ w.). As a “fluffy”-bodied woman at 5’11, piecing the stripes and having enough fabric for the revers and falling collar will prove to be a challenge to say the very least. I’m a bit nervous, but I may have to resort to using a russet velvet for the collar and revers. We’ll see.

What must be done before CoCo however is a new set of 18th century stays for a riding habit pattern fitting class that will be taught by J.P. Ryan. I wanted to hand-sew the stays, but the most handsewing they are going to get is eyelets for lacing and leather binding. I modified the J.P. Ryan half-boned stays pattern to be laced in both the front and the back, since I have been (or at least trying) to lose weight. I also added more boning channels for more support.


Very much in progress.

When the stays are completed, they will be bound in white kidskin leather, and laced with pink silk ribbon. I’d like to call them my Sweetheart, or St. Valentine’s Stays, since they will be pink, white, and red all over.

I’ve also completed some ‘death’s head’ style buttons for the redingote:


Silk floss and a wooden shank base from again, Burnley and Trowbridge.

I’m still not sure if I want to use these, but we’ll see. I used the tutorial found Here to make them. More to come later.